Katie from Coco Målé Home Decor Shop
Katie, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Greek living in London, investment banker turned interior designer, owner of furniture & home accessories boutique Coco Målé ((pronouned koko maaleh) originates from the word "Mahaalay" in Sanskrit, aptly meaning a palace), mommy to a gorgeous little Yorkie and on the right side of 30 (although barely!).
Raised amidst stacks of interior magazines, with an interior designer uncle, a mom who spent half her life at auctions and a dad who imported stone from Libya and Pakistan, it’s no wonder that I acquired a passion for interiors.
Yet, I decided to follow the money and studied finance at university, then worked in an investment bank in London for seven years. But my true passion was calling; so in July 2007, armed with just enough courage, determination and capital – and after six long months working in banking by day, and setting up the company at night- Coco Målé was launched!
Tell us about your business, Coco Målé.
My business is my haven! It’s an online boutique selling unique furniture and home accessories, each and every one handpicked by myself for its beauty, quality and individuality. I’ve spent the last couple of years searching high and low for the best suppliers and I am truly very proud of our collection and what we have achieved in this little time. My aim is to create a one-stop shop that bridges the gap in interior design between countries, to create a fusion of styles that reflects today’s globalized society, whether ethnic, country or minimalistic. Our products look equally beautiful in a city flat or a rural cottage!
What inspired you to pursue this business?
I was always passionate about interiors, but it was only a few years ago when I bought my first house that I realized that despite the abundance of furniture shops, everything seemed similar and mass-produced. I wanted to create a space that would be testament to my travels so I thought to myself, well why not try find these products myself? So it all started from there!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I don’t do the product designing myself, but for the styling of my home, or even our brochure, I am inspired by my travels, nature, a picture with interesting colors…
Tell us about a favorite decorating or remodeling project.
We’re currently doing some work in our flat so I’m super excited! One of the main changes is the addition of another bathroom, which will not only be an en-suite to the master bedroom, but will also be the WC to my office and will link my office to the rest of the house. It’s difficult to explain but as it stands now, I am having to go out into the patio to enter my office which with the London rain is clearly not ideal!
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
I’ve always adored the ethnic Oriental style, East meets West, but I’ve found that as I get older I’m also starting to appreciate white, country style interiors whereas when I was younger I thought they were too bland and old-fashioned.
Describe your dream room.
Very oriental, mainly in dark red and black with small accents of other bright colors like turquoise and orange.
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-"what was I thinking" – do you have one?
Yes, I always think that about my cream sofa in the living room. Although a lovely design, it just isn’t practical; the covers aren’t removable and with a lively dog who is constantly coming in and out of the garden, it has unfortunately turned every color but cream now!
What’s your favorite color or paint swatch?
My favorite color is a rose-fuchsia pink color (Pantone 198 ), but strangely enough my worst is baby pink!
What are your five favorite pieces of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
- A set of two African lady statuettes. They are nearly a meter tall and they look amazing next to my fireplace. Our supplier has discontinued them now but I am trying to get them made elsewhere…
- My Chinese Antique reproduction desk from Oka – was very expensive but oh so worth it.
- My comfy Papasan chair from the Pier, which has sadly closed down in the UK now.
- The gorgeous Jonque sofa from La Maison Coloniale – hopefully it will take pride of place in my home soon!
- A huge picture of Santorini (one of my favorite places in the world) that I’ve put up in our patio. It reminds me of home and it’s visible from my office, so the stunning view of the sea calms me down immediately.
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
My office, I’ve done very little to it decorating-wise but it has bags of character and I just feel so creative and comfortable when I’m there, although maybe that’s a result of spending so much time in it!
Do you have a favorite designer?
I absolutely love Kelly Hoppen’s work – admittedly her interiors are usually all in the same style and a bit too ‘safe’ but her attention to detail is amazing and I love the symmetry that she always tries to create. I’m a perfectionist myself and can’t stand mismatched items or picture frames facing different angles!
Do you have a decorating design or remodeling tip you’d like to share with thedecoratingdiva.com readers?
I think the most important factor when designing a room is to plan ahead and to think about where you would place each item before purchasing. It’s so common to buy something because we fall in love with it, only to return home and realize we have nowhere to put it! It’s always better to stick to the “More is Less” mantra – the biggest mistake I see in homes is people trying to fit too many pieces of furniture in one room. Except the fact that it’s more expensive, it ends up making the room look much smaller and crowded. The same stands for home accessories – select a few items that will stand out and create a wow factor, rather than lots of small bits and bobs.
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites?
- Made by Girl: I love Jen’s taste and the fact that she shares her personal life with her readers.
- Decor8: Lovely, colorful images – especially the bi-weekly “color me pretty” column.
- Domestic Sluttery: A must read for modern domestic women! Packed with good recipes, fashion must-buys and decorating tips.
- Mydeco: Great for design inspiration and ideas – you can create 3D rooms and mood boards from real products.
- Wee birdy: Cool things to do/eat/buy in London from the Deputy Shopping & Style Editor of Time Out.
What are your favorite books and magazines?
- Architectural Digest
- Living Etc
- Grand Designs
- Kelly Hoppen Style (mainly for the images!)
- Hus & Hem (Swedish interiors magazine)
- Website: Coco Målé
- Blog: Cerise Pink: The Coco Målé Blog
- Facebook: Coco Målé on Facebook
- Twitter: Coco Målé on Twitter
- Coco Målé Sales Hotline: +44 (0) 845 257 1104
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images copyright of respective owners.
The Decorating Diva LLC would like to thank Katie of Coco Målé for sharing her inspiring, entrepreneurial journey into the world of design and for providing our readers with such delightful eye-candy for the home!